Friday, December 17, 2010

All I Want For Christmas...

Last week, i talked about the publicity stunt at the ANZ in Brisbane. There is now a Christmas card you can send to the ANZ CEO. Just go to the action website to let the ANZ know what present they should give to the world they "live in".

There's also a time lapse video of the day they took the Christmas card photo.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2 Summer Tips for Hot Water

If yoyu're still on an electric hot water system here are two ways you can reduce your energy consumption over summer.

1. Adjust the thermostat down.
When the 'cold' water is already 30°C, there's not so much need for hot water in summer, so why not save energy [more info]

2. Turn the whole thing off
If you're going away for a while over summer, give the heater a break till you get back [more info]

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Revenge Of The Electric Car

Sound like an action adventure doesn't it? Ten years after it they thought it was dead (Who Killed The Electric Car?) it's back and it's bigger than ever! This is the trailer that has just been released.

The movie is by the same people who did Who Killed The Electic Car, and follows the journey of 4 pioneers of the electric car revolution. It's an independent film, so if you want to see it, the best thing is to visit the movie website and enter your name and city under See The Film. They'll show the movie where there are people who want to see it, and let you know when it's showing near you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Save Power

If you live in New South Wales, you may have seen these Save Power ads. The visual of the black balloons really drives home the point about how much pollution we create.

The Save Power website also has a whole bunch of tips for saving energy. (Not all of them are as obvious as the one pictured above.) And if you put in your postal address they'll even send you a free thermometer - which is handy for checking temps around the house (like the fridge and hot water) to check you're not wasting energy by over-cooling or over-heating.

Friday, December 10, 2010

ANZ - We Pollute Your World

I've written before on the clever wit of the Greenpeace people. This photo was taken by a friend of mine as she arrived for work in the ANZ building. Obviously a parody of the "we live in your world" campaign by the bank.

I guess Greenpeace are kind of making the point 'If you live in our world, how come you're so keen to fund the pollution of it?'. According to this short video of the event, even in this age of climate change ANZ fund coal projects 6 times more than renewables.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Green Tax Shift

I've mentioned my friend Stuart before. In recent weeks he's been working on this cartoon about the Green Tax Shift.

Two main thing i remembered from it...

1. We tax 'goods and services'. Wouldn't it be better to tax things that are bads and dis-services (like waste and pollution)?

2. Taxing pollution makes the planet-friendly choice the financially sensible choice. Companies will no longer have to choose between the planet and profits (we all know which they'd choose). When pollution is taxed, the way to make the best profit would be to minimise pollution.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Solar Credits Changes

Australian readers may have already seen the news about the Solar Credits program. It was always going to be phased out as solar becomes more affordable, but the first step now happens on July 1, 2011. In cash terms, it's about a $1200 reduction in the rebate.

If you're thinking of getting solar power, my tip is to get it before then. Even though solar power is getting cheaper all the time, it seems the rebates disappear just as fast. So it's just better to get right in, and start saving energy straight away.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Electricity Prices

Earlier this year I wrote about the increase in electricity prices. Since then (on July 1 to be exact) the price increased by another 13.3%. This makes the price now 54% higher than it was 4 years ago.

What does this mean?

1. Saving energy is even more worthwhile. Might be a good time to get the ClimateSmart guys in (if you live here in Queensland).

2. Things like solar might be worth another look. The same solar panel or hot water system that you were looking at 4 years ago will now give you savings 1.5 times as big.

3. People (or politicians) who try to scare us with 'a carbon price will mean power bills will go up 50%' are telling a half-truth. The half they leave out is that those kind of increases will also happen without a carbon price - as they have done over the last 4 years.

Monday, December 06, 2010

350 Earth Art

The people at had an idea to make Earth Art. They encouraged groups from around the world to do large-scale art on the theme of climate change.

This one is from a group of students in Mexico. It's the symbol for a hurricane as a reminder of Mexico's vulnerability to climate change - particularly the more frequent and more intense hurricanes.

You can also view the whole art collection, including one from Australia that is made from fire. Might be a comment on climate change bringing more severe drought, and hence greater chance of bushfire. Or it might just be because it looks really good. :)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Thursday, December 02, 2010

New Zealand Smashing Australia

Another of my updates on how the rest of the world is tackling climate change. (Just in case you thought there was any chance of Australia leading in this area). Today we're looking at New Zealand.

Our friends across the Tasman, according to the Otago Daily Times, have recently hit 73% renewable energy. (Remember Australia is aiming for 20% ... in 10 years time).

Monday, November 29, 2010

Carbon V Dollar

There's a lot of talk recently about a carbon price. Obviously, it helps the economy in the long run. But some are scared that in the short term a carbon price might damage the economy. So, a recent economic report compared it to a 20% increase in the Australian dollar (like we've just had).

It found the exchange rate to have the same effect as an $85/tonne carbon price. A suggested carbon price is $23/tonne, and the CPRS would have started at $10/tonne.

If the economy can withstand the equivalent of an $85 price, I'm sure it can manage a $10-23 price, for the sake of the long term good.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Colbert Bump

On fridays i try to find something a little humorous to share with you - to help avoid depression. This clip is an such example. The wit and humour of Stephen Colbert, helps ease the pain of knowing who it is that might control energy (and therefore climate change) policy in the US.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Portugal To Beat Target?

Portugal's Renewable Energy Target is 60% by 2020. A report suggests that they may even beat this and achieve 82%.

Meanwhile, Australia's target is just 20% in the same time.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Matrix

Watching the movie "The Matrix" recently, i was struck by this monologue by the non-human character, Agent Smith. [view clip]
I'd like to share a revelation that i've had during my time here. It came to me when i tried to classify your species. I realised that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment. But you humans do not. You move to an area and multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. You know what it is? A virus.

Hard to argue, really.

Monday, November 22, 2010

2010 Hottest Year Yet?

It seems too early for a final call, but Jan-Oct 2010 is the warmest January-October ever recorded, according to NASA. I think the following graphic shows it best (as well as demonstrating global warming over the past 90 years).

The three sections represent 1921-1950, 1951-1980 and 1981-2010. Over the decades the colder (blue) months disappear, and the hot (red) months become more frequent. In the last couple of decades the red has become even more intense - and looking at 2010 so far, it looks like being the hottest of them all.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Help Facebook Unfriend Coal

On facebook, there is a campaign to get founder Mark Zuckerberg to switch the computer servers that operate the social network to be powered by renewable energy. This is the cute video they put together to sum it all up.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Climate Change in Queensland

Recently the Queensland Government received the report it commissioned, titled "Climate Change in Queensland". You may remember the very similar-sounding 2008 report. Not surprisingly, here in 2010, it's still bad news.

These maps show the change in Queensland temperatures from 1950-2007. The 3 maps represent the daily average, minimum and maximum temps. Red areas represent warming (the darker the red, the greater the warming).

Put simply, the report says it's hotter than it's ever been, and getting hotter. Droughts will increase, and be broken by more destructive cyclones.

If only governments would take action as much as they take reports.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Too Big To Fail

I'm not encouraging people to get arrested, but i do appreciate both the commitment and cleverness of the Greenpeace people. The most brilliant, yet succinct, summation of the urgency for action - expressed in government's own language.

For more pics of the event, check out the image gallery.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


The two main reasons i don't allocate much time at all for pointless debate with those who want to argue the existence of climate change are that (i) there's plenty of scientific research that demonstrates climate change, and (ii) it distracts me from getting on with the job of doing something about it.

Now i see that some clever computer enthusiasts have combined both factors with an automated chatbot. This little computer program detects which well-worn faulty argument has been posted online, and responds with a link to the appropriate scientific research. What a time saver!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Martina's Story

A lot of my focus in this blog is on technical and political stuff - because that's where a lot of solutions are. But there's also the human side to all of this. The people at Oxfam demonstrate this greatly with their faces of climate change video series.

This particular one is about Martina from Uganda and the ways climate change is already making food and water scarce. You can read more of Martina's story, and see videos of the other faces of climate change.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Crime Against Humanity?

Interesting article in the Guardian, asking whether corporate disinformation campaigns regarding climate change could be classified as criminal.

These "deeply irresponsible" programmes have "potentially harsh effects upon tens of millions of people".
These untruths are not based upon reasonable scepticism but outright falsification and distortions of climate change science.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Zero Carbon Plan Video

Last week i wrote about the launch of the Zero Carbon Plan (100% renewables in 10 years). This is the introductory video they screened at the beginning of the event.

Some highlights:

Our response to climate change must be guided by science. The science tells us we have already exceeded the safe upper limit for atmospheric carbon dioxide.
- Malcolm Turnbull

We're very blessed in terms of renewable energy, the costs are very low for us.
- Tim Flannery

We no longer rely on the horse as our major means of transport. We do change and we have to change.
- Prof Peter Doherty (Nobel Laureate)

You get told one thing by your coal lobbyists about how the world should run, and we're giving an alternative view to that.
- Nina Mulheisen (Toyota Engineer)

Monday, November 01, 2010

Energy Efficiency Eases Mortgage Meltdown

Read this article on mortgages. In the USA, the average suburban home costs about $175,000. But that's just the ticket price. Living in the home also includes $75,000 of utility bills and $300,000 of transportation costs. And these costs are going up faster than wages, and becoming a greater portion of the overall cost.

The author's theory is that the $375,000 of add-ons could be at least halved. Obviously, this would make it much easier to get on top of those mortgage payments!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

100% Renewable Energy - Very Doable

Last night was the Brisbane Launch of the Zero Carbon Australia plan to get to 100% renewable energy in 10 years. I've read about the plan previously - and written about it (here, here and here) but was still very impressed.

And it's not really that expensive. Yes, any number quoted in billions sounds big, but over the ten years it works out to $8 per household per week - or about a dollar per day. I've seen car insurance more expensive than that!

But the benefits are so much greater. We can protect a planet (not just a car) and we protect our economy by building a system that is free from rising fuel costs.

[Download: Full Report | Synopsis ]

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

David Suzuki's Green Guide

"What can I do?". We want to do the right thing by the environment, but we don't all have the time and knowedge to examine all the options. But David Suzuki did.

His Green Guide offers advice on the decisions and actions in 6 areas of our lives; including the home, our transport, our food choices and the waste we produce. Apart from the positive environmental effects, he also suggests that by making better choices we will
- improve our health
- save money
- feel less helpless
- enhance our quality of life.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back Of The Pack (Price Tags)

Regular readers know of my amusement at the ostrich-like politicans who pretend as if Australia is the only country acting on climate change. You can spot them by phrases like "no point acting alone" and "wait for the world", and references to "our major trading partners".

Now the Climate Institute have settled this once and for all. They commissioned a report by Vivid Economics to analyse the economies of the UK, USA, China Japan and South Korea. Mathematically combining taxes, incentives, investment etc, they calculated the implicit price on carbon.

Australia's was $1.70. Japan's was double that, the USA 3 times, China 8 times and the UK 17 times (at $29.30). The result is best summed up by the report's key author Dr Cameron Hepburn:
Clearly Australia has some distance to travel in order to catch up to where the rest of the world is here. There's clearly no risk Australia will be leading the world on this issue. If anything we're running the race at the back of the pack.

He also added that "if you want to reduce your emissions, the cheapest way of doing it is a broad carbon price."

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Asia Getting Ahead

An Australian company has won a contract to build a solar power station in Thailand. The Thai government has a similar renewable energy target to Australia, but has also introduced tax and investment incentives to make sure it happens.

Also, the Indian government has decided to bring electrification to 2000 villages. The exciting part is that they are 'leapfrogging' past fossil-fuel powered electricity, and going straight to 100% renewables.

And still there are Australian politicians worried about us "going it alone".

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

David Attenborough

I've put up a few graphs and stuff to illustrate climate change, but possibly none as clear as this piece from David Attenborough.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

BHP Call For Carbon Price

Major Australian miner BHP has joined the call for a price on carbon pollution. CEO Marius Kloppers, noted that about 90 per cent of carbon emissions from electricity come from coal-fired power stations. He encouraged consumers to favour low carbon alternatives and to recognise that making a difference comes at a price.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Change For The Oceans

I found this animation by Monterey Bay Aquarium to be quite witty and spot-on. Oh, and yes the voice does sound familiar - it's John Cleese.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Country People Love Renewable Energy

A new survey has shown that country people are even keener than their city cousins for the development of renewable energy.

In rural areas, 85% of people want the government to "make clean energy cheaper quicker, through large scale development of solar, geothermal and wind power in urban and regional Australia". In the city the figure is 82%. Either way, it seems Australians want leadership on renewable energy.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Here Are Some Ideas

At a time when our leaders seem to lack ideas for tackling climate change, Graham Readfern compiled this list of 10 ideas that other countries have put into action.

Apart from possibly being a great 'cheat sheet' for our leaders, it also goes to show how far other nations are ahead of Australia in tackling climate change.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Help For Making Units Greener

It can sometimes seem harder to make changes when you're in a unit block rather than a house. But there are also greater gains to be made when apartment buildings becomes more sustainable.

Green Strata is an online resource, specifically relating to apartment buildings, where you can see what others have done - learn and discuss what you can do - or share what you have done.

Friday, September 03, 2010

EzyGreen Freebies

Today i signed up with the EzyGreen program (run by Brisbane City Council's CitySmart group).

So shortly i should be receiving my free energy-saving powerboard that helps reduce wasteful stand-by power (10% of home electricity). I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

True Green Home

True Green Home is the followup to True Green and gives 100 tips for creating a greener home.

Not all of the tips are directly related to reducing carbon emissions, but the ones that do are very good. This is a handy read for anyone building or renovating a home - and is even useful if you're just looking to run your home a bit greener.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Balloon Ratings

Like the ACF scorecard, the Climate Institute has published its own election ratings of the party's policies. As i write, the greens policies are 2 and a half stars better than the next best party.

Of course, looking at the policies of the two L parties, it's hard not to make the obvious balloon-themed jokes about hot air, wind and drifting along aimlessly. :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Climate Change Tops Triple J Poll

Triple J (and it's news program Hack) tends to attract younger listeners, so it was great to see this poll showing their top election issue as Climate Change.

Now, if only the more "mature" voters could broaden their focus beyond the short-term and trivial matters.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Global Warming

The sub title of this book (The Causes, The Perils, The Solutions, The Actions) pretty much describes the contents.

Written in 2006, most of the information is covered in other books, but being produced by the people at Time Magazine, the photos are brilliant.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Australia Worse Than US

This interactive map comes from the people at Chartsbin, and illustrates the per-person emissions of each country - from the burning of fossil fuels (with heavy shading indicating high polluting)

Hovering over each country on the map, displays that country's emissions. For the record, Australia's pollutes at about 5 times the world average.

Friday, July 30, 2010

China To Put Price On Carbon

When looking for excuses for doing nothing about climate change, one poitician favourite is the one about waiting for the rest of the world. Apart from being illogical, it's also becoming more and more misleading. In addition to India putting a tax on coal, now China is preparing to start an emission trading scheme.

The move is described as "essential" and industry experts said that putting a price on carbon is crucial for the country. Interestingly, administrative measures (or what some Australian politicians call "direct action") have been found to be less cost-effective than simply putting a price on carbon.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Election Scorecard

In the lead up to the election the ACF is putting out an election scorecard on 4 issues related to climate change. ACF also point out that three-quarters of Australians think we are too dependent on polluting energy sources, and 92% are concerned about the damage pollution is causing.

At the moment, two parties are nowhere near a pass mark. As of this morning, the overall scores are as follows:

Let's hope more announcements are made, and parties can increase their mark.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Are We Dumber Than Fish?

Regular readers know my liking for ABC's Catalyst. A little while ago they did a story on groups of animals making collective snap-decisions.

From research on fish, it seems that the bulk of the group will wait for the 'expert' fish to make a decision, then everyone will follow immediately. Not only are the decisions made quicker (because the expert is deciding) but the accuracy is also far higher than when each fish is left to decide for itself.

I'm sure the link to climate change is obvious. We have the expert advice on what actions we should take - but how quick are we to act? I'm sure if fish were this slow to act, they'd by shark-lunch by now.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

India Puts Price on Carbon

One of the flimsy excuses for doing nothing on climate change is the line about waiting for the rest of the world. It's irrational because if every nation thinks that way, nothing will ever happen. But it's also misleading because so many nations are already doing so much more than Australia (and the US).

This week I read that India has introduced a carbon tax on coal. It is expected to raise 25 billion rupees (535 million dollars) which will be used to fund renewable energy.

Meanwhile Australia doesn't even have a carbon price - and the government isn't promising one anytime soon. Apart from the effect on our planet, it's also kind of embarrasing that a developing country like India is ahead of us - a so-called "advanced country".

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Soccket Ball

Solving carbon emissions, and health at the same time - that's what the sOccket does. It's the soccer ball that generates energy as it moves, using a small magnet inside the ball.

15 minues of play generates enough energy to run an LED light for 3 hours. This eliminates the need for kerosene lamps - which can have the same effect as smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day. Burning kerosene is also responsible for 190 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

The makers hope to sell them in developed countries, and use the profits to fund distribution in places like Africa.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Coffee With Julia

The people at GetUp have recently made this ad for tv - and people are donating to get it on the air. I enjoy their work, because it's both witty and to-the-point.

They sum it up greatly, with a leader saying "Climate change is our greatest challenge ... but it can wait", and the guy from the general public saying "Why don't you just put a price on pollution?"

Thursday, July 08, 2010

100% Renewables With Energy To Spare

Regular readers have experienced my fondness for graphics - and won't be surprised that i liked this one. It comes from Zero Carbon Australia, who's plan for Australia to be on 100% renewable power i have mentioned before.

The orange and blue in the bottom represent the solar and wind power that would meet Australia's demand for electricity. The small bits of green and navy are the occassions where biomass and hydroelectricity would make up the shortfall, and the light orange/yellow at the top represents the massive amount of excess energy that would be produced.

So much for that theory that renewables can't provide our energy!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

State Of Origin Score

As we go into game 3 of rugby league's State of Origin contest, it seems that Queensland dominate almost as much on the renewable energy scoreboard.

This is the percent of Queensland and New South Wales households that choose greenpower (renewable energy) from their electricity company.

Of course if this is the score in the rugby league state of origin, that would also be fine with me. :)
(PS: Yes NSW fans, i know i do this at every state of origin. Perhaps i'll stop if ever NSW catches up ;)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

1 Day Of Driving

You know how i like a good graphic. Well the people at GE have put together an interactive display of America's car emissions for their recent Memorial Day holiday.

The encouraging bit is clicking on hybrid car or electric car and seeing the total emissions shrink. The discouraging bit is that one day's car emissions (right of screen) are equal to the total annual emissions of some smaller countries.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Solar Panel Heat-Map

According to Energex, the are 19,982 dwellings with solar panels (in South East Queensland) which totals up to 33,109 kW of power.

Adjusted for the number of households, the above map shows the uptake of solar power. It ranks the postcodes by kilowatts of solar power per household. The top 50 postcodes are coloured red - the next fifty orange, then green then blue.

If you click through to the map, there is also a rankings list, so you can see exactly where your neighbourhood comes in.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Solar Savings

Previously, i showed a graph of how much solar panels can save you each year - depending on much energy you use yourself - and how much excess you produce. In my latest bill from Origin, they did some calculations based on a home using 50% of the energy from the panels.

Of course, often the major energy use is outside of the main sunshine hours, so it is possible to sell back more than 50% of the solar energy to the grid - and take even greater advantage of the Solar Bonus Scheme.

(Oh, and the 50c/kWh in the calculation is Origin's special offer. The guaranteed rate set by the government is 44c/kWh. How nice of Origin :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Jobs Map

A few weeks ago, i wrote about the Creating Jobs Cutting Pollution report - showing that the stronger the action from government to reduce emissions, the more jobs that are created.

Since then, the talented graphics people at ACF have put this information into a far more fun and colourful form - an interactive map. Try it out!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Living In Denial

New Scientist magazine has just done a special on Living in Denial. It's not exclusively about climate change denial - it also refers to vaccines, evolution, and smoking-induced cancer.

It includes articles on the difference between scepticism and denial, why sensible people reject the truth and how corporations manufacture doubt. It's an interesting read.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


This DVD documentary Crude begins by explaining how oil got to be there in the first place (starting around 160 million years ago) and how much we have become addicted to it (and not just for motoring).

Consuming it at a rate of 84 million barrels per day, "we're all of a sudden dependent on rapidly shrinking supplies of evermore expensive oil"

It's tempting to think that perhaps running out of the stuff might save us from climate change, but Jeremy Leggett does the maths...
The latest work of the climate scientists says we can "afford" to put into the atmosphere another 400 billion tonnes of carbon. Well, you just look at what's left in fossil fuel reserves below ground. You've got 700-plus in oil alone. Then you've got 500 billion in gas. And coal - forget it - it's 3500 billion and counting. So we can cook our planet many times over

Having switched from exploration geology to a solar company, he explains that
My abiding fear is that i'll live through what remains of my vocational life in an exciting fast-growing company while the world is going to hell in a bucket because of the stupid addiction to oil we've had all these years and the effect that it will ultimately have on our economies ... plus of course, the unfolding effects of global warming, which just get worse by the month.

The DVD ends with this
Every year we burn more and more of what we have less and less of. Are we mining the aftermath of past climate catastrophes, simply to engineer our own?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Office Recycling

At a meeting in the city last week i spotted these great office recycle bins.

As well as tiny knee-high ones (suitable for seated office areas) they also had waist-high ones convenient for standing areas like kitchens, photocopy areas - or corridors (as demonstrated by Stuart).

Being a government building, i'm sure they were also there to promote the state government's Do The Right Thing initiative, which (among other things) lends recycling facilities for events and festivals.

I've mentioned before that recycling one aluminium can saves enough energy to power a TV for 3 hours. Now i find out that recycling one plastic bottle saves enough energy to power a light bulb for 30 hours. Wow!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

European 30

I read today (in The Times) that the European Union is planning to up its greenhouse gas reduction target.

Prior to Copenhagen, they committed to at least 20% by 2020 no matter what. Now they are looking at upping that to 30%. Meanwhile Australia is willing to do maybe 5% - but won't even start until 2013.

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Tale Of Two Provinces

My Canadian friend recently passed me an article from her local paper 'back home' - figuring i'd be interested in the climate change coverage.

The piece covered the views of a political party leader in Alberta. I could say a lot of negative stuff about it, but one positive was that it gave a good example of how a province (or country) can choose its own destiny.

The other half of the example is provided by Ontario - who seem to be enthusiastically moving forward into the new energy economy. Solar energy in south east Ontario has the potential to match all the USA's nuclear generators combined. So the province is offering a generous feed-in tariff to encourage rooftop solar, and has announced 2500 MW of projects. Meanwhile, the Ontario Solar Academy has had to move to a larger facility to meet demand, as it triples its training capacity.

Meanwhile Alberta, despite huge potential for geothermal energy, appears to show little interest in changing its ways.
Update: 8000 MW of Solar Applications

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

DIY Home Energy Audits

In the USA, they don't have the free home sustainability assessments that we have in Australia. So David Findley has written this guide for doing your own home energy audit.

During the book he lists 140 tips for saving energy and increasing efficiency. A lot of them are to do with heating and cooling (because that's a huge percentage of energy use in North America). It's a reasonable book, but if you're in Australia, i'd still recommended the free home sustainability assessments funded by the government.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Carbon-Friendly Coach

Very good friend of mine is planning a trip by coach, and tells me that greyhound will offset the travel emissions for just $1 extra on the ticket. So i checked it out.

I was impressed by the offsets because it takes the form of emission prevention - which i think is even better that tree-planting. But also, the greyhound buses run on the cleanest diesel available in Australia, and have upgraded their fleet of buses for fuel efficiency (which i'm sure also saves them buckets of money in fuel costs). I was suitably impressed.

Of course, all of this comes on top of the stat that coach travel is already 80% less polluting than car travel.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Creating Jobs - Cutting Pollution

I see that the report Creating Jobs - Cutting Pollution has been released. Some still think these are opposites, but the report shows differently. It compares 'weak action' (just an emissions trading scheme) to 'strong action' - an ETS plus initiatives like energy efficiency, investment in renewable energy, fuel efficiency and public transport.

Strong action increases GDP by 3.2% per year (weak action 2.8%) and strong action creates 770,000 more jobs than weak action (which creates more jobs than taking no action). Strong action also means less imported oil ($181 billion) and efficiency savings ($53 billion for households alone).

Don Henry remarked that Australia’s transition to a cleaner economy was being held back by government policies. "In this election year Australians want our leaders to show they have got a serious plan to shift us to a cleaner economy with new industries and better jobs."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Blocks Of Ice

Recently i linked to a Catalyst report - which mentioned the increase in Antarctic ice melt from 75 to 150 billion tonnes per year. Sometimes it's hard to imagine what that much ice looks like. Fortunately, John Cook's visualisation of the Greenland ice melt helps us get the picture.

With the Empire State Building for scale, this is 1 billion tonnes of ice.

Greenland ice melt 2002-03: 139 billion tonnes
Greenland ice melt 2008-09: 286 billion tonnes